Grant Sinclair Design Ltd: Inventors and Designers

Next generation Sinclair inventor

Grant Sinclair began his career in 1981 (age 9) demonstrating a suite of Psion software applications on the Sinclair ZX81 at the 4th Personal Computer World show, London. Later he demonstrated the Sinclair ZX Spectrum (the best selling personal computer series in the World for some time) to a large exhibition crowd.

He continued to work part-time for his uncle's company Sinclair Research for several years (inventors of the worlds first pocket calculator, worlds first low cost digital watch, worlds first pocket TV and worlds first flat screen TV), before working for his father's company, where he helped with electronics and introduced various computer systems and software including Quark Express DTP (desktop publishing) and later Alias Auto Studio CAID (computer aided industrial design) automotive software.

As well as working for the family businesses, Grant was also involved with other Cambridge based technology companies such as Acorn Computers who supported Grant’s early computing in 1982 by supplying him with free BBC Micro computers (the BBC Micro computer dominated the UK educational computer market during the 1980s). In addition Grant was involved with Tadpole Computers in 1988 - a Cambridge manufacturer of rugged UNIX workstations, thin client laptops and lightweight servers.

Some of Grant’s early design work experience came about from being his father’s design assistant, as his father designed many consumer products including over 100 gaming consoles (together with a very early wearable device in 1990 which was a digital watch with integrated UVB sun sensor) for Saitek Ltd of Hong Kong.

After spending time studying business studies in Cambridge, Grant joined his fathers business full time in 1991 as production manager and later became sales and marketing manager, forming a small sales team who UK manufactured and sold Sinclair products in millions of units. 

Grant Sinclair Design Ltd was setup by Grant Sinclair in 2016 for the sole purpose of marketing his own inventions; a company that started trading in 2016.

1982 Grant with BBC Micro by Acorn Computers

insight
In 1981 Grant introduced computers to his local primary school. Later, Grant also introduced computers to the Kings College Music School’s pioneering dyslexia centre - a ground-breaking interactive learning gaming tool to help students was then produced by a young teacher there. In 1983 Grant collaborated with a friend in a public concert at the school (home of world famous Kings College Choir) with a digital, synthesised version of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ - the digital arrangement made use of music sequencing software around a decade before sequencing tech became mainstream in popular music.
 

1985 Grant with C5 electric vehicle by Sinclair Vehicles

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Grant Sinclair attended his first electric bike race at Duxford Airfield as a spectator in 1981 and was around when various versions of his uncle’s electric bikes were in development, the first being a modified electric Raleigh® Chopper in the late 1970s. Then came the C1 trike around 1982 - an early concept of the affordable Sinclair C5 electric trike in 1985 (the world’s first mass produced electric vehicle). Much later came the Sinclair Zike - an ultra lightweight ebike of 1992 which was decades ahead of its time. In addition, Grant’s friend, Adam Harper set a world land speed record for electric vehicles in 1996 by achieving 150mph in a rebuilt, modified Sinclair C5 with added aerodynamics and other ground breaking, engineering advances.
 

2009 POCO® camera prototype by Grant Sinclair

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The original Poco® concept was launched in 2010 as the world's first full High Definition (1080p) camcorder with 14MP digital photo capability (in a credit card size form factor). The idea of Poco® was originally inspired by the amazing success of the easy to use handheld Flip video camera from Pure Digital Technologies® which eventually sold in millions of units. Grant Sinclair's idea was to take aspects of the bulky Flip camera design but improve it by using newer and next generation mobile phone technology to miniaturise the form factor and produce a similar concept but packed into a much neater, credit card size footprint and using high-end build quality inspired by the famous Minox® spy camera from 1932.
 

2010 POCO® 3D camera by Grant Sinclair

licensee
Various
 
material
Black anodized Magnesium
 
size
85.6 x 54 x 7mm
 
status
Concept series
 
R.S.P
£200
 
description
The world's first 3D High Definition (1080p) camcorder with 5MP digital photo capability (in a credit card size form factor). The product featured a 2.2 inch widescreen TFT display from LG (with resistive touch overlay), twin Auto focus camera modules from OmniVision together with high power SOC (System On a Chip) from Ambarella.
 

2010 POCO® Pro camera by Grant Sinclair

licensee
Various
 
material
Black anodized Magnesium
 
size
85.6 x 54 x 7mm
 
status
Concept series
 
R.S.P
£200
 
description
The world's first full High Definition (1080p) camcorder with 14MP digital photo capability (in a credit card size form factor). The product featured a 2.4 inch AMOLED display from CMEL, an ultra fast, Auto focus camera module (with continuous variable aperture and shutter) from DIS (manufactured to special order by Panasonic) together with high power SOC (System On a Chip) from Ambarella.
 
 

2015 POCO® Pi prototype by Grant Sinclair

insight
Sinclair family pioneered the electronics Maker Movement in the early 1960s when Grant’s uncle, Clive Sinclair launched many miniature hi-fi and radio kits such as the Micromatic radio of 1967 which was sold by mail order as well as by electronics giant: Premier Farnell. In the 1970s he followed up with the first pocket calculator kit of 1973, the first digital watch kit of 1975 and the Mk14 kit computer of 1977. The Mk14 was the first affordable single board computer - priced at £39.95. This was under a tenth of the price of competing rival computer kits of the time, such as the Apple I which cost $666 (around £537). The £200 Poco® Pi kit computer was developed by Grant Sinclair as an evolution of the original Poco® camera concept that used a £25 Raspberry Pi® compute module (single board computer from 2014) as its motherboard. This concept was updated to be lower cost by making use of the £4 Raspberry Pi® zero motherboard and is now fully developed with the new Poco® zero kit console being launched in February 2017 at highly competitive RSP of £99 with mass production now fully underway.
 

2015 IRIS eTrike® prototype by Grant Sinclair

interview
“I knew it was possible to build an affordable 30mph+ capable production bike that could keep up with the speed of cars and trucks in the city as my sister became involved in the Bluebell Human Powered Vehicle Racing Team whilst I was still at school. The fastest team in Europe for a time, they raced all over the world and came second overall in the 1986 World Championships. However, most Human Powered Vehicles were based on recumbent designs that sat very low on the ground and felt very vulnerable in traffic. I wanted to avoid the aesthetically awkward reclining seating position and specced an enclosed bike that sat higher and more upright, therefore allowing the rider to feel more comfortable and confident, city riding & being easily visible to regular traffic. I got the idea of using EPP for the IRIS® body when deliberately flying a miniature RC (Remote Control) helicopter as high as possible into the sky at an outdoor barbecue party in 2008. Eventually the helicopter would lose reception and come crashing to the ground. This was entertaining enough to do time and time again without its EPP body breaking and Lithium-ion battery cell remaining intact and undamaged, much to my surprise. Around that time, whilst living in Bristol (UK’s first cycling city), many hundreds cycled to work each summer day along the Bristol to Bath cycle path until a spate of random attacks (as many as 14 in one week) were carried out by masked attackers (some armed with baseball bats). These incidents shocked the cycling community, and I imagined a fully enclosed EPP vehicle bike design that would protect the commuter against such vicious attacks and in general make vulnerable bike riders feel safer when riding alone, especially at night. Being fully enclosed would also protect the rider against poor weather, especially in winter when cycling enthusiasm rapidly wanes. Whilst directing the IRIS® styling, I took inspiration from RC helicopter exterior cockpit designs together with aerodynamic crash helmets used for bike racing on the velodrome. - inventor, Grant Sinclair.